With so many different scholarship programs being offered today, your organization needs to get creative if you hope to find suitable applicants. When you make a solid plan for promotion, an individual's talent, skills, interests, and abilities will be able to align with your program and help you to get your desired outcome.
Scholarship applicants today are not just applying for any scholarship program. They are looking for the right opportunity that fits their needs and experience. They spend so much time contributing to their personal growth and development, and want to find programs that they feel they have a chance of being selected for.
That said, to reach and filter the best candidates for your program, you must first have marketing processes in place that will draw the perfect people to you. Below, we’ll explore how you can reach the right candidates as they relate to the outcome of your program.
There are three things that you can do to prescreen the potential candidates. The first is to write your scholarship description in a way that announces exactly who you are looking for. Anyone reading your description that doesn’t fit your ideal candidate will move on because they know they are not a good fit. In fact, if you write your materials the right way, they won’t even see your program in their search results in the first place.
The second is your application itself. Provided you ask the right questions, odds are as soon as someone previews it, they will be able to tell at a glance whether or not they are qualified. This is where an application template comes in handy. If you use one that fits your program’s goals, it will be that much easier to find the most qualified individuals.
The third way is your essay questions. While this might seem like it is similar to the second method of screening your applicants, it goes a little deeper. In an essay, applicants have to really explain what makes them the perfect candidate. Unlike a multiple choice questionnaire, it’s harder to bluff with an essay. Questions like these will allow you to get an idea of who they are as a person, not just what their achievements are.
When pre-screening potential applicants, it's essential to keep the process manageable and straightforward so you can reach as many qualified candidates as possible. At the same time, you also want to ensure you are not going to frustrate potential applicants with your pre-screening process. Make it easy for applicants to determine quickly and easily whether or not this program is right for them.
Leveraging social media can be a great way to spread awareness about your program and reach potential scholarship applicants. You can do this by sending out status updates, tweets, videos, and images about your program.
Link to your scholarship application, post updates about past winners, share who you are looking for, and use hashtags that your ideal candidates might be searching for. For example, if your scholarship is geared towards pre-med students, your hashtags might include:
Simple tweaks to your updates like this can help you connect your program to the scholarship applicants. Ask people to tag and share your updates with students and potential candidates in your posts as well. People seeing your posts might know someone who isn’t following you online that would qualify for your program. Word of mouth can bring new prospects into the fold that might not have otherwise heard about your scholarship.
The best way to reach the right scholarship applicants through social media is by creating engaging posts relevant to your program that are both informative and attractive. Because social media is just another form of communication that allows people to connect online, this can reach a broader range of audiences than in-person outreach or a simple Google search.
Social media also allows you to identify groups of people closely related to those who may be good fits for your program. You can find various groups or forums where you can post about your program and reach out to individuals directly who may be interested in applying for your scholarship or wanting to learn more information. You can also find those already affiliated with your programs, such as alumni and previous participants, and ask them to share the news on social media.
The best way to reach the most qualified candidates is through word-of-mouth, and it is crucial to make it easy for applicants to share your program. If you have a blog, social media presence, or even just an email list, take advantage of it! Tell your audience exactly what you're looking for in terms of scholarship applicants and the type of people who are most likely to be selected.
You can accomplish this by encouraging potential recruits to share their personal experience with others interested or even thinking about applying for your program. They can share stories about their participation in your program and express why they felt it was beneficial to them. This will help potential applicants feel more connected with the program and want to find out more information.
When people reach out about your program through social media and word of mouth, this is what's referred to as the halo effect. It occurs when someone who has either heard or seen your program shared online or offline tells another person about it. This sparks interest, and people want to find out more information about the program.
Ask people to forward your emails, share your status updates to their own profiles, and simply tell others about your program. Create a funnel for them to easily find you and fill out your forms. From there, utilize application management software to make quick work of everything from filtering your applicants to announcing your recipients.
Ready to get your scholarship program on the fast track to success? Click here to learn about SmarterSelect, and the solutions we offer. And, if you need a sample of an application for scholarship, ideas for saving time, or just more general information on how to successfully run a program, peruse our blog. We have a plethora of helpful posts that can empower you to take your program to the next level.